September 01, 20181st2nd3rd4th1OT Final
Union College61507028
Cumberland Univ.02170331
1st Quarter
UNIONTD05:52Riettie 1 Yd Run
2nd Quarter
UNIONTD10:55Buchannon 38 Yd Pass From Furness
CUTD09:50Capps (Kline kick)
CUTD06:30Brown (Kline kick)
UNIONTD02:56Toombs 5 Yd Pass From Furness (Burke kick)
CUTD01:04North 47 Yd Pass From Huntley (Kline kick)
3rd Quarter
CUTD01:40Hafner 31 Yd Pass From Huntley (Kline kick)
4th Quarter
UNIONTD12:18Toombs 72 Yd Pass From Furness (Burke kick)
CUFG15:00Kline 35 Yd
Stats at a GlanceUNIONCU
1st Downs2213
3rd Down Conversions5-1610-17
4th Down Conversions3-60-1
Passing (Comp-Att)253 (21-35) 209 (12-24)
Rushing (Att)72 (45) 145 (46)
Total Yards325354
Fumbles Lost24
Phoenix overcome early deficit, win 31-28 in overtime
Saturday, September 1, 2018
Phoenix overcome early deficit, win 31-28 in overtime
Sean Kline booted a 35-yard field goal in overtime for the winning points in CU's 31-28 victory Saturday over Union College. (Credit Steve Wampler)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Sean Kline booted a 35-yard field and Jimmy Turner ended the game with an interception in overtime, as Cumberland overcame an early 14-point deficit for a 31-28 victory over Union College in the home opener here Saturday at Nokes-Lasater Field.

The contest featured 23 accepted penalties for 233 yards, 200 of those yards against the Phoenix (1-1), who also overcame seven fumbles and four turnovers. Fumble returns for touchdowns by Jace Capps and Justin Brown in the first half helped CU erase the 14-point Union (1-1) lead and Kimlee North caught a 47-yard TD pass just before the half to even the game at 21.

Ian Hafner’s 31-yard touchdown reception gave Cumberland its first lead of the game late in the third period, but the Bulldogs answered with a 72-yard catch-and-run by Tyler Toombs with 12:18 remaining to tie the game again.

Cumberland fumbled on the ensuing possession but Union was stopped on fourth down on the CU6, with the Bulldogs declining to kick a field goal and take the lead midway through the final quarter.

Champ Leddon intercepted a pass near midfield and returned it to the Union 38 with 17.5 seconds remaining, but the Phoenix were unable to convert that into points, sending the contest to overtime.

Cumberland started at its own 40 in extra time because of an unsportsmanlike penalty on the final play of regulation and converted two first downs before the drive stalled, but in his Phoenix debut, Kline booted a 35-yard field goal for the lead.

After a rush for a loss and an incompletion, Union quarterback Kendrick Furness tossed an interception to Jimmy Turner, who ran about 10 yards before laying down to end the game.

Cumberland again struggled on the ground, managing just 145 yards on 46 attempts, 3.2 yards-per-carry, but Dezmon Huntley completed 12-of-23 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns.

The Phoenix defense collected nine sacks in the game, most of those in the second half and three from Aaron White. The defensive line harassed Furness most of the game, forcing two fumbles and two interceptions.

Furness passed for 253 yards on 21-of-34 with three touchdowns. Union posted 22 first downs but only 325 yards of total offense.

Cumberland fumbled on its third play from scrimmage after a 42-yard run from Huntley and Union took the ensuing possession 82 yards on 16 plays and the help of two personal foul penalties on the Phoenix.

Furness completed a 10-yard pass to Brad Elkins for a first down and Izayah Riettie rushed four yards on 4th-and-3 to midfield. A late hit and a face mask penalty on Cumberland moved the ball to the CU15 and a 12-yard pass from Furness to Toombs made it first and goal. Riettie carried the final yard on second down for the TD.

Union made the PAT but an offsides penalty gave the Bulldogs a chance for two, but the rush by Riettie failed for a 6-0 Union lead with 5:52 left in the first quarter.

Cumberland put together an extended drive late in the first period into the second quarter, with a 20-yard toss from Huntley to Kimlee North ending the opening period. North caught two more passes on the drive but the Phoenix fumbled again at the Union 28.

Furness rushed for seven yards for a first down and a pass interference gave the Bulldogs another set of downs. The quarterback then hit Jermaine Buchannon streaking down the middle for a 38-yard touchdown and the two-point run was good for a 14-0 Bulldogs advantage with 10:55 left in the half.

The Phoenix fumbled for the third time on the second play of the ensuing possession, but the CU defense came up with a big play to get the home team back in the game. Terry Tiller forced a fumble near midfield on a handoff by Riettie and Jace Capps picked up the bouncing ball, broke an ankle tackle and raced 53 yards for a touchdown, cutting the deficit in half.

Union picked up three first downs on its next drive, including one on a personal foul by the Phoenix. At the CU34 Furness dropped to pass and lost the ball while being chased by JarVis Ruff. Brown picked up the bouncing ball, broke away from the pile and rumbled 55 yards for the score. With the PAT the home teamed the contest at 14 with 6:30 remaining in the second quarter.

Union answered with an impressive drive, marching 84 yards on just seven plays, including two runs for a total of 16 yards by T.K. Hill to begin the possession. Riettie found a hole up the sideline for 27 yards and then Furness hit Hill for 22 yards down the sideline to the CU28.

Pass interference put the ball to the 13 and two plays later Furness made a perfect throw to Toombs in the back corner of the end zone on a fade route for a five-yard TD pass and a 21-14 Union lead with 2:56 left in the half.

Cumberland came right back before the half, starting with a six-yard completion to Ian Hafner and a five-yard run from Telvin Rucker. On third down Huntley floated a pass down the middle to North for a 47-yard catch-and-run for a TD, evening the game at 21 at intermission.

The second drive of the third period was the best one of the game for the Phoenix, moving 75 yards on 16 plays. Kendall Johnson caught a 36-yard pass for a first down and Huntley scrambled 16 yards for another.

Jawan Grey’s 19-yard reception moved the ball to the Union 31 and two plays later Hafner’s grab down the left side was good for a touchdown and a 28-21 CU advantage.

Union evened the game on a busted coverage, with Toombs running down the middle wide open on 3rd-and-17 for the 72-yard score. The two teams managed just 47 yards of total offense over the final 12-plus minutes of regulation before the extra period.

Cumberland plays its next two games on the road, starting next Saturday at Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 6 p.m.